A day in the life
Aziz Alawadhi talks about second year
I’m thinking of doing the honours program for the extra research opportunity. It would be great to have Dr. Lee as my thesis advisor—I really like the people in his lab. It’s a great atmosphere, it’s a lot of fun.
Pursuing an interest in cancer research
Choosing Dalhousie came down to two things for Aziz Alawadhi. One, he could continue living at his home in Bedford. And the second and main reason: once he’s finished his Bachelor of Science in Microbiology, he wants to go to med school at Dal. “And I love Halifax,” he adds.
After taking a couple of second-year Microbiology classes, Aziz decided to major in it. “I really like it—especially the immunology and virology part, and learning how the immune system works to fight off pathogens.” Plus, he figured it would be good preparation for med school: “It gives you that foundation of how the body works and how the disease state comes about.”
Thinking ahead to medical school, Aziz says, “I’d like to be involved in the research side of things if I can.” But he’s also thinking of specializing in oncology—which makes sense, given his interests and activities so far.
“I volunteer in Dr. Patrick Lee’s lab about 15 hours per week,” he explains, “helping with cancer research related to how cancer hides from the immune system and how reovirus”—that’s the respiratory, enteric, orphan virus—“can help the immune system and prevent cancer.”
For his first co-op work term next summer, Aziz is hoping to work in Dr. Lee’s lab. “It depends on funding,” he says. “But the profs help you out with that, by providing reference letters. And my lab supervisor is helping me write the proposal, too.”
He also gets lab experience in the Introduction to Microbiology class. “The labs are great and low pressure," he says. "We learn only the techniques we need. It makes it more fun.”
Aziz says he’d love to go abroad someday to do medical volunteer work. For now, he’s involved in the Invisible Children Society, which he started last summer with four friends. Now 70 members strong, the group raises money through bake sales and benefit concerts to help children affected by conflict in central Africa—particularly those children abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and turned into child soldiers. “The money will go toward building radio towers the children can use to warn each other when LRA soldiers are coming,” Aziz says.